2022 Annual Report: A letter of reflection
As I reflect on 2022 and the progress made at B Lab and across our global movement, I’m filled with a sense of gratitude and possibility. When I stepped into this position as the first Lead Executive of B Lab who was not a founder of this movement, I did so with humility and a learning mindset. Though all three of B Lab’s co-founders –– Andrew Kassoy, Bart Houlahan, and Jay Coen Gilbert –– have now transitioned out of operating roles, we remain grateful for their outsized contribution to making the world a better place. Andrew and Bart will continue as members of the Board of Directors, supporting our fundraising efforts and contributing to the strategy, growth, and governance of the B Corp movement. All three remain as committed as ever to our movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system.
When I became Lead Executive in June 2022, it was an exciting time for B Lab and for this movement at large. Now, after spending nearly a year getting to know B Lab employees, partners, and B Corp leaders around the world, I can say wholeheartedly that I am in awe of the boldness, dedication, and creativity of this organization. Seeking to change the global economic system is an audacious goal that we have embraced wholeheartedly. B Lab, and the B Corp movement it empowers, have grown significantly over the last two years. In 2022 alone, we surpassed our 5,000th –– and then 6,000th –– B Corp Certification, making 2022 the fastest growth year in B Lab’s history. We also reached a major milestone with more than 200,000 businesses registered on the B Impact Assessment to measure, manage, and improve their impact. We are well past our proof of concept phase, and in fact, the interest we see for our certification has recently outpaced our own ability to scale. And so we find ourselves in that territory of wrestling with “a good problem to have.”
As demand for our standards, impact tools, and certification continues to grow globally, we have started exploring how we can digitally transform our processes and organization. Through this transformation, we will continue to evolve our standards to better define what using business for good means in a changing world, drive greater impact through our tools, and improve the efficiency of the B Corp certification. This will require significant investment and coordination across internal teams and hundreds of external stakeholders over the coming years. It will also require philanthropic support to help take us to this next phase and scale our impact.
We are more motivated than ever to take on these challenges amidst an external rise in anti-ESG rhetoric, ever-increasing calls to action on the climate emergency, social justice inequalities that continue to discriminate against workers, and cost of living crises around the world –– all while corporate profits reach all-time highs. With this backdrop, the need and opportunity to reach our vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy is at an all-time high. To do so, we must work urgently and sustainably, not alone, but in partnership and collaboration with every stakeholder in the economic system –– every business, worker, consumer, policymaker, investor, philanthropist, academic, peer organization, and so many more. After all, we are not just building a community of B Corps around the world, we are building and energizing a movement to reshape the role and responsibility of business. And we won’t stop until all businesses are a force for good. I invite you to learn more about our progress in 2022 and join us in this movement.
–– In community
Eleanor Allen, Lead Executive, B Lab Global
Join us as we illustrate the stories from the numbers in our newly launched 2022 Annual Report